A natural communion
One of my favourite things to do is to go walking with friends and a few days off teaching over Easter afforded me the opportunity to do just that. Friends are so important, each providing in their individual ways, a combination of support, company, advice and fun – as well as a reflection of certain aspects of our own personality. And we, of course, reciprocate with our own offerings.
Friends do the same job as nature: they confirm who we are – which is a very reassuring and enjoyable thing!
But whilst we tend to learn about our ego selves through our relationships with others, nature gets right down to the core of the matter: it shows us our true self – it shows us that we are One. And as my companion and I strode along the beach in Scarborough, our young children within sight, revelling in their surroundings, this fact was wonderfully apparent.
We are all made of stars* (and water, fire and space)
That day, I observed how each wave leaves a mark on the shore, and how I, too, find myself being changed by nature – by the longer days and the freshness of Spring. I felt the space opening up in my heart and mind, mirroring the vast sky above my head. The sandy earth beneath my feet gave me the feeling of being grounded and confident – great solace in a world of permanent change.
Nature gently put its hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye and confirmed what many of us know, but often forget to notice: everything is connected. You, me and the elements – everything in and on this planet. My daughter, Tulsi, is undoubtedly tuned into this fact; as is so often the case, she was the only naked child on the beach – for that girl, a beach signals ‘bare bottom’…whatever the temperature!
Connecting with nature through yoga
I thank yoga for the ability to see how everything is connected. Our practice gives us time to connect to our deepest selves – that essential aspect of ourselves that’s so often buried under our thoughts, learnt behaviours, frantic day-to-day lives and dramas. Yoga shines a light on the light within, so that when we give ourselves time amongst nature, we’re able to see how we’re not all that different to the elements; indeed, we ARE the elements!
“Yoga shines a light on the light within”
Connecting with nature is a wonderfully enlightening experience and I strongly recommend taking the time to do it. Whether it’s an afternoon in the garden or allotment, a trip to the park, a roam around the Bar Walls, or a grand escapade in God’s own county, along the coast or across the dales and moors – plan it, write it on the calendar, make it happen!
It’s elementary, dear yogis…
Take the time, too, to experience this sense of oneness with the elements during your yoga asana practice. Pay attention to:
- the earthy weight of your skeleton
- the wind of your breath moving in, out, and through you
- the warm fire of your digestive organs
- the moisture in your mouth and eyes
- and finally, when you become quiet enough, the vastness of space within and around you
*We really are, read this!